26 October 2021

Confusion over 'carbon jargon' responsible for climate inaction and demotivation, report says

New UK study shows complicated wording affecting climate action efforts.

© Evan Dennis

Complicated environmental jargon is leading to confusion, demotivation or indifference when it comes to climate action, a new UK study by the energy company, E.ON, has revealed.

Six in ten (64%) of those surveyed also say they want to take climate action but feel overwhelmed by the numbers and jargon or are deterred by the lack of information available on the topic, resulting in climate inaction. 

Seven in ten (72%) are unaware of the difference between net-zero and zero-carbon, while a quarter of people (27%) admit to not fully understanding what the phrase 'carbon footprint' actually means. According to the new research, which questioned 1,500 people around the country, only 10% of Brits know what COP26 actually is.

Commenting on the research, Michael Lewis, CEO of E.ON UK, said: 'Knowing more is often the key to doing more – especially when asking people to make changes to their homes and their lifestyles in order to help combat the climate crisis. We need to make this something people want to do, as well as something they need to do, and this includes simplifying the language we use so people can properly understand the benefits of a cleaner, greener lifestyle.

The research also reveals that almost two thirds (62%) of those asked have bluffed their way through conversations about the environment with friends and family, whilst four in five (82%) would do more for the environment if they saw less carbon jargon and instead received simpler information about what they could do to reduce their impact on the planet.